March 13 Mail: Pension for Convicted Police Officer, Second Amendment and More

An Officer Is Never ‘Off Duty’
I’ve been following this disgraceful situation involving Richard Cannon and must now voice my outrage [online comment on “Should a Former Police Officer Be Allowed to Receive Pension Benefits After Being Convicted of a Crime?”]. Should a police officer who has been convicted of any crime during the period of his career as an upholder of the law be stripped of his pension? Without question — YES! Should a convicted child molester/police officer, one who has admitted his heinous acts, receive his pension? The answer to that is a no-brainer: NO!

Police personnel, those who are entrusted to ensure our safety from the bad guys, are without question not exempt at any time to break the law. A resolution for an oath of office by The International Association of Chiefs of Police was recently recommended, and I quote: “On my honor I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for my actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community and the agency I serve.”

The Police & Fire Pension Fund trustee board of the city of Jacksonville and the editorial staff of our only daily paper, The Florida Times-Union, disagree. The PFPF seems to be only interested in protecting their own healthy pensions. The T-U editors and their handpicked respondents are either sadly deluded, or there’s another agenda at work of which perhaps the community is unaware. Their conclusion was that as long as the perverted behavior was committed while Cannon was off-duty, those psychologically destructive acts against children don’t count. A police officer is never off-duty as far as conscience and morality is concerned, as it should be for all of us.

Anyone with a sense of decency should be disgusted. Anyone with a sense of morality should be offended, not only by Richard Cannon’s behavior, but by the PFPF who, in effect, awarded him his cushy pension and dismissed his perversions.

Barbara Kiersh

Something Needs to Be Done
I recently read this article and was taken aback [“The Last Blue Straw,” Feb. 27]. I know that we are lied to and cheated by the people put in place to help and protect us on a daily basis, but this takes it to a whole new level. Richard Cannon was a police officer, 24/7. Whether he had that badge on or not, he had an obligation to serve and protect. He did the opposite. He has ruined these poor victims’ childhoods. How does this even out? He and his family get more than $1 million for him to rot in prison, and these children get to live with these terrible memories for the rest of their lives. And the reason it can be this way? He wasn’t on the job at the time. So what they’re saying is, as a police officer, as long as you don’t do horrific things <> you can be a hideous, law-breaking monster outside of work, and it’ll all work out for you.

So now we have a horrible excuse for a man who, despite the fact that his job was to protect the same people he victimized, is going to be making quite a bit of money (to me, at least) over the next 30 years, and his victims’ taxes will be paying for it. The three board members who voted to reinstate his pension pretty much just patted him on the back and said, “Everything you’ve done is OK!” It’s sick, and something needs to be done about it. Laws need to be changed, people kicked out of the PFPF if need be, but we cannot allow things like this to happen, and then sit back and wonder why these things continue. If push comes to shove, the victims should sue him and make sure he gets nothing. It’s what he deserves.

Hillary R. Byrd

Second Amendment Levels Playing Field
There is no guaranteed right to vote in the United States Constitution, but there is a guaranteed right to keep and bear arms, so if time and progress have invalidated the Second Amendment, as Greg Bell maintains [“The Second Amendment Is Invalid,” Feb. 27], then it would be permissible to make the same statement about the right to vote. Somehow, I don’t think Mr. Bell would agree.

In fact, the gap between the smallest and greatest weapons available today, such as between handguns and nuclear weapons, is a far greater reason for more potent assault weapons, etc., to be available to the ordinary citizen. They can help level the playing field between government forces and insurgents, if it ever comes to that.

In no way does the Second Amendment limit itself to 18th-century technology as Mr. Bell avers, and most of the rest of his assertions are as bogus.

Roderick T. Beaman

Standing Up Against Tyranny
While Greg Bell writes a printable essay on his opinion of the Second Amendment, he shoots himself in the foot with his own argument [“The Second Amendment Is Invalid,” Feb. 27].

True, weaponry has dramatically changed since our country’s founding, and there are laws that prevent us from owning some of the more advanced systems produced today. However, in his argument, Mr. Bell stated that “a well-regulated militia” defeated the most powerful army in the world. This may soon be a challenge we will face in our own generation.

Mr. Bell should re-examine the fact that the Second Amendment was put in place to protect the Third Amendment, which he conveniently glossed over. The Third Amendment states, for people not too familiar with the Bill of Rights, “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.” Back in colonial times, the British soldiers routinely took advantage of the fact they could drop in your home or business and consume food, copulate women and confiscate valuables, just because they could. This was part of the tyranny that the Founding Fathers referred to. This is possibly what martial law could allow.

If the current administration has any progress in reducing the capacity for citizens to bear arms, a new tyranny will rear its ugly head again, and it will be the citizens who have to stand up against it. People like Mr. Bell will be cowering for protection by the very people who stood up for their right to bear arms.

In my lifetime, I have been around countless weapons and not one has ever gotten up and assaulted me. They have always been at my disposal to defend me and my family, as they are carried by police, to defend them. The liberal media has labeled them as “assault” weapons when, in fact, the vast majority of them are held by law-abiding citizens for their defense. If they haven’t been used in an assault, why won’t the media refer to them as “defensive weapons” or “target weapons” or “recreational weapons”? Why won’t they refer to a baseball bat or a common kitchen knife as an “assault weapon” if it’s used in an actual assault?

Mr. Bell should be reminded that the true definition of gun control is hitting your target.

Curt Coenen

Supreme Court Upheld Rights
I think the graphic is perfect for this opinion. Not only are the cases blanks, but they are spent blanks [online comment on “The Second Amendment Is Invalid,” Feb. 27].

I don’t think the author has a grasp of history, has read the Federalist Papers, or reads rulings from the Supreme Court. In <> the court recognized the right of citizens to own firearms for self-protection. In <> it was applied to the states. Neither case mentioned deer hunting.

And the obligatory statement about his family owns guns, he has friends who own guns, probably has a best friend who owns guns. But would you let your sister marry one?

Braley Carroll

Disable Cellphones in Cars
It seems like we always have to find different things to do while we are driving a car rather than actually drive the car [online comment on “A Major Distraction for Minor Drivers,” Feb. 6]. We are either reaching for and drinking that soda or our Starbucks drink, or we are adjusting the radio or changing CDs, or we are putting on makeup or shaving or, now, we are texting or calling someone on our cellphones.

In regard to texting and calling, maybe we should require cellphones to have a chip in them that can detect if a car engine is running within so many feet and block the cellphone. The only function available would be 911 emergency calls. The worst case would be that you wouldn’t get that text or call until you were either out of that running car or the engine was off. Doesn’t sound like it should be that hard to do.

Don Nolan